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Weibo Posting Exposed Chinese Youth League’s Involvement in Boycott Lotte Group

The Epoch Times, an overseas Chinese newspaper, carried an article that contained a screenshot of a posting taken from Weibo. The author of the posting stated that the Youth League of Hunan Province just issued a notice asking its Youth League members to “actively participate in the public opinion warfare against the Lotte Group in South Korea for its support of the anti-missile system (the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense or THAAD). The posting stated that each youth league branch must submit no less than five commentaries or screenshots showing the forwarding of a specific Weibo posting to a given email address. Their participation in this warfare will be used towards their annual performance evaluation at the end of the year. According to the article, the official Weibo account of the Youth League of Hunan Province has issued a number of postings encouraging people to “boycott Lotte” and favor the Weibo postings that the Central Committee of the Youth League made. The article also quoted a couple of online comments. One questioned why the youth league uses taxpayer’s money to commit itself to something that brings no benefit to society; another comment stated that, “This is how the official public opinion is created.”

The tension between China and the South Korean government has been escalating over the U.S. THAAD anti-missile system that the U.S. is assisting South Korea to build. Although the project is reportedly aimed at assisting South Korea to defend itself from the North Korean missile threat, China claims that it will be a threat to China. On February 26, after the Lotte Group agreed to provide land to host the anti-missile system, over 20 Chinese citizens gathered in front of the Lotte Mart in Jilin Province holding banners to protest Lotte’s support for the anti-missile project. Soon after that, online postings asked people to boycott Lotte or any Korean made product. On March 1, the Lotte Group reported that its official site was hit by a cyber-attack.

{Editor’s note: Currently the screenshot of the posting can no longer be found online.}

Source: The Epoch Times, March 2, 2017